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Hardware

Linux/Android hacker SBC with hexa-core Rockchip SoC debuts at $75

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Android
Linux
Hardware

The Vamrs “RK3399 Sapphire” SBC is on sale for $75, or $349 for a full kit. Vamrs is also prepping an RK3399-based “Rock960” 96Boards SBC.

Rockchip’s RK3399 is one of the most powerful ARM-based system-on-chips available on hacker boards, featuring two server-class Cortex-A72 cores clocked to up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz and a quad-core Mali-T864 GPU. The hexa-core SoC has appeared on T-Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399 SBC and RK3399 Coreboard computer-on-module, as well as Videostrong’s VS-RD-RK3399 SBC and Theobroma’s RK3399-Q7 Qseven module. Now we have a new contender: Shenzhen based Vamrs, which built the limited edition Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire SBC as the official RK3399 dev board for Rockchip, is now re-launching the board, which features a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector, with “many in stock” for a discounted price of $75.

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Linux Boards with Intel (Back Doors)

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Linux
Hardware
  • Arduino Create Expands to Support Linux on Intel Chips

    When we talk about open source hardware, we often think about the Raspberry Pi and other community-backed single board computers running Linux. Yet all these communities were modeled on the success of the 14-year-old Arduino project, in which Linux has been only tangentially involved, and only over the past four years. The two platforms should grow closer, however, now that Arduino has extended its Arduino Create development environment to support Linux on x86 platforms.

    With the new Linux support, “users are now able to program their Linux devices as if they were regular Arduinos,” says Arduino. Arduino Create works in concert with embedded Linux distributions – initially Ubuntu or Intel’s Wind River Pulsar Linux – to let developers load Arduino sketches to control lower level interfaces to sensors and other Internet of Things peripherals.

  • 3.5-inch SBC comes in 6th and 7th Gen Intel flavors

    Commell’s 3.5-inch “LS-37K” SBC supports 6th or 7th Gen Core S-series and Xeon-E3-1200 v5 CPUs with up to 16GB DDR4, triple displays, 2x SATA, and mSATA.

    Commell announced a 3.5-inch SBC with Intel’s 6th (“Skylake”) or 7th (“Kaby Lake”) Gen Core S-series and Xeon-E3-1200 v5 CPUs. The LS-37K’s layout and feature set are similar to that of its Skylake based LE-37I and LE-37G 3.5-inch boards. As usual, no OS support is listed, but Linux should run with no problem.

  • Apollo Lake DIN-rail computer packs a lot in a little

    Axiomtek’s Linux-friendly “ICO120-83D” IoT gateway runs on a dual-core Apollo Lake Celeron, and offers mini-PCIe expansion and extended temp support.

    Axiomtek has launched an ICO120-83D Internet of Things gateway that runs on Intel’s dual-core, 1.1GHz Celeron N3350 SoC with 6W TDP. The system has the same Apollo Lake processor and fanless DIN-rail design as the recent ICO300-83B gateway, but with a more compact 125 x 100 x 31mm. 0.3 k footprint and a reduced feature set.

MINIX: ​Intel's hidden in-chip operating system

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OS
Hardware
Security

Why? Let's start with what. Matthew Garrett, the well-known Linux and security developer who works for Google, explained recently that, "Intel chipsets for some years have included a Management Engine [ME], a small microprocessor that runs independently of the main CPU and operating system. Various pieces of software run on the ME, ranging from code to handle media DRM to an implementation of a TPM. AMT [Active Management Technology] is another piece of software running on the ME."

In May, we found out that AMT had a major security flaw, which had been in there for nine -- count 'em -- nine years.

"Fixing this requires a system firmware update in order to provide new ME firmware (including an updated copy of the AMT code)," Garrett wrote. "Many of the affected machines are no longer receiving firmware updates from their manufacturers, and so will probably never get a fix," he said. "Anyone who ever enables AMT on one of these devices will be vulnerable."

[...]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called for Intel to provide a way for users to disable ME. Russian researchers have found a way to disable ME after the hardware has initialized, and the main processor has started. That doesn't really help much. ME is already running by then.

But Minnich found that what's going on within the chip is even more troubling. At a presentation at Embedded Linux Conference Europe, he reported that systems using Intel chips that have AMT, are running MINIX.

If you learned about operating systems in the late '80s and early '90s, you knew MINIX as Andrew S Tanenbaum's educational Unix-like operating system. It was used to teach operating system principles. Today, it's best known as the OS that inspired Linus Torvalds to create Linux.

So, what's it doing in Intel chips? A lot. These processors are running a closed-source variation of the open-source MINIX 3. We don't know exactly what version or how it's been modified since we don't have the source code.

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Purism Librem 13 v2 privacy-focused Linux laptop -- great hardware, frustrating software [Review]

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

As a computer user in 2017, privacy is always on my mind -- as it should be. I suppose I have always cared about securing my information and data, but in recent years, we have learned so many troubling things about government hackers -- including the USA -- that it seems more important than ever. Patriot Edward Snowden really shone a light on the unfortunate state of privacy, or lack thereof, in modern days.

This is why I was very intrigued by the Purism line of laptops. These are computers that are designed with privacy in mind. The Librem 13 v2, which I have been testing, features two hardware kill-switches -- one will cut the webcam and microphone, while the other kills the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. By cutting access on the hardware level, hackers cannot access these things when switched off. Instead of using a traditional bios system for booting, it even leverages Coreboot. It runs a Linux-based operating system called "Pure OS" which aims to be very secure and private. Unfortunately, the OS ends up being a little too secure, and the weak link of the overall package. But does that really matter?

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Raspberry Pi CM3 fuels touch panel and network media player

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Linux
Hardware

Distec’s 10.1-inch “POS-Line IoT” touch-panel PC is built on its RPi CM3 based “Artista-Iot” board, which also drives a VideoPoster IV media player.

In February, Germany based Distec announced its Artista-IoT touchscreen controller board based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, and has now announced a POS-Line IoT touch-panel computer built on the sandwich-style board combo. Primarily aimed at Point-of-Sale (PoS) applications, the touch-panel can also be used for HMI devices, digital whiteboard and production visualization, medical, aerospace, and signage applications.

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Another Dead Microsoft Product

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Hardware
Microsoft

Success! Beelink S1 Running Linux – Courtesy of the Open Source Community

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

We recently published a post summarizing why the Beelink S1’s hardware specs look so promising for an inexpensive Linux mini PC. But I hit a brick wall when trying to install any flavour of Linux on the machine. I simply could not get the machine to boot a live Linux distro, either from a USB DVD or USB key.

I contacted Shenzhen AZW Technology Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of the Beelink S1, twice to see if they could offer any support. They replied recommending I get used to running Windows 10, as they contend Ubuntu is difficult to install on this mini PC. The second email has yet to elicit a response. I must have exhausted my support quota. Undeterred, I made a call for help to Linux enthusiasts. And half a dozen good folk promptly stepped forward to offer a simple solution, which I’ll detail below. This is one reason why I love Linux; the community.

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NODE Handheld Linux Terminal Version 3

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

YouTuber NODE has released a new video unveiling his third generation Handheld Linux Terminal which builds on the features from the previous creations and is once again fantastically awesome.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Handheld Linux Terminal Version 3 powered by a Raspberry Pi 3 mini PC. Great job NODE.

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Linux Tiny Box PCs and DeX

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Linux Tiny Box PCs: Quad-core i.MX6 Dual Lite

    Kingdy's new ultra-compact tiny embedded platform for space limited solution, based on the ARM Cortex-A9TM iMX6 Dual Lite / Quad Core processor, delivers optimum I/O design for maximum connectivity with Pre-install Yocto 1.8 on eMMC.

  • Samsung to Give Linux Desktop Experience to Smartphone Users

    Samsung on Thursday announced a new app, Linux on Galaxy, designed to work with its DeX docking station to bring a full Linux desktop experience to Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphone users.

    Samsung earlier this year introduced DeX, a docking station that connects to a monitor to give Galaxy smartphone users a desktop experience.

Devices: Beelink S1 Mini PC, Aaeon’s SBC, Kobo and LEDE

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Beelink S1 Mini PC and Linux – Comedy Gold

    The Beelink S1 is a small, silent mini PC released in August 2017 retailing for around 300 dollars (250 euros). It’s produced by Shenzhen AZW Technology Co Ltd, a Chinese company that focuses on Android smart TV boxes, Intel mini PCs, and home cloud TV boxes.

    The S1 ships with an activated copy of Windows 10. But what makes this mini PC interesting? For starters, it purports to run Ubuntu. Combined with a quad core Celeron CPU, dual monitor support (HDMI and VGA), 4K video, expansion options, together with a raft of other features, the machine looks a mouthwatering prospect compared to many other mini PCs.

  • Kaby Lake Pico-ITX SBC features dual M.2 slots

    Aaeon’s “PICO-KBU1” SBC is built on Intel 7th Gen U-series CPUs with up to 16GB DDR4, dual GbE ports, and M.2 B-key and E-Key expansion.

    The PICO-KBU1 SBC is equipped with Intel’s dual-core, 15W TDP 7th Gen U-series CPUs from the latest Kaby Lake generation. Other 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX boards that run Kaby Lake U-Series processors include Axiomtek’s PICO512. As usual with Aaeon, no OS support is listed.

  • Kobo firmware 4.6.9995 mega update (KSM, nickel patch, ssh, fonts)

    It has been ages that I haven’t updated the MegaUpdate package for Kobo. Now that a new and seemingly rather bug-free and quick firmware release (4.6.9995) has been released, I finally took the time to update the whole package to the latest releases of all the included items. The update includes all my favorite patches and features: Kobo Start Menu, koreader, coolreader, pbchess, ssh access, custom dictionaries, and some side-loaded fonts.

  • LEDE v17.01.4 service release

    Version 17.01.4 of the LEDE router distribution is available with a number of important fixes. "While this release includes fixes for the bugs in the WPA Protocol disclosed earlier this week, these fixes do not fix the problem on the client-side. You still need to update all your client devices. As some client devices might never receive an update, an optional AP-side workaround was introduced in hostapd to complicate these attacks, slowing them down."

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Why Linus is right (as usual)
    Last year, some security “hardening” code was added to the kernel to prevent a class of buffer-overflow/out-of-bounds issues. This code didn’t address any particular 0day vulnerability, but was designed to prevent a class of future potential exploits from being exploited. This is reasonable. This code had bugs, but that’s no sin. All code has bugs. The sin, from Linus’s point of view, is that when an overflow/out-of-bounds access was detected, the code would kill the user-mode process or kernel. Linus thinks it should have only generated warnings, and let the offending code continue to run.
  • Kube-Node: Let Your Kubernetes Cluster Auto-Manage Its Nodes
    As Michelle Noorali put it in her keynote address at KubeCon Europe in March of this year: the Kubernetes open source container orchestration engine is still hard for developers. In theory, developers are crazy about Kubernetes and container technologies, because they let them write their application once and then run it anywhere without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. In reality, however, they still rely on operations in many aspects, which (understandably) dampens their enthusiasm about the disruptive potential of these technologies. One major downside for developers is that Kubernetes is not able to auto-manage and auto-scale its own machines. As a consequence, operations must get involved every time a worker node is deployed or deleted. Obviously, there are many node deployment solutions, including Terraform, Chef or Puppet, that make ops live much easier. However, all of them require domain-specific knowledge; a generic approach across various platforms that would not require ops intervention does not exist.
  • Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) Shares Bought by Aperio Group LLC
  • Cloudera, Inc. (CLDR) vs. Red Hat, Inc. (RHT): Breaking Down the Data

Software: VidCutter, Super Productivity, MKVToolNix

  • VidCutter 5.0 Released With Improved UI, Frame Accurate Cutting
    A new version of VidCutter, a free video trimmer app, is available for download. VidCutter 5.0 makes it easier to cut videos to specific frames, improves the export of video clips with audio and subtitle tracks, and refreshes the default application icon. Why Vidcutter? If you want split video, trim video, or join video clips into a single montage then Vidcutter is ideal. The app lets you perform these tasks, as well as many more, quickly and easily. VidCutter is a Qt5 application that uses the open-source FFMpeg media engine.
  • Linux Release Roundup: Fedora 27, Shotwell, Corebird + More
    It’s been another busy week in the world of Linux, but we’re here to bring you up to speed with a round-up of the most notable new releases. The past 7 days have given us a new version of free software’s most popular photo management app, a new release of a leading Linux distribution, and updated one of my favourite app finds of the year.
  • Super Productivity is a Super Useful To-Do App for Linux, Mac & Windows
    Super Productivity is an open-source to-do list and time tracking app for Windows, macOS and Linux. It’s built using Electron but doesn’t require an internet connection (which is pretty neat). And it has (optional) integration with Atlassian’s Jira software.
  • MKVToolNix 18.0.0 Open-Source MKV Manipulation App Adds Performance Improvements
    A new stable release of the MKVToolNix open-source and cross-platform MKV (Matroska) manipulation software arrived this past weekend with various performance improvements and bug fixes. MKVToolNix 18.0.0 continues the monthly series of stability and reliability updates by adding performance improvements to both the AVC and HEVC ES parsers thanks to the implementation of support for copying much less memory, and enabling stack protection when building the program with Clang 3.5.0 or a new version.

OSS Leftovers

  • Reveal.js presentation hacks
    Ryan Jarvinen, a Red Hat open source advocate focusing on improving developer experience in the container community, has been using the Reveal.js presentation framework for more than five years. In his Lightning Talk at All Things Open 2017, he shares what he's learned about Reveal.js and some ways to make better use of it. Reveal.js is an open source framework for creating presentations in HTML based on HTML5 and CSS. Ryan describes Gist-reveal.it, his project that makes it easier for users to create, fork, present, and share Reveal.js slides by using GitHub's Gist service as a datastore.
  • Font licensing and use: What you need to know
    Most of us have dozens of fonts installed on our computers, and countless others are available for download, but I suspect that most people, like me, use fonts unconsciously. I just open up LibreOffice or Scribus and use the defaults. Sometimes, however, we need a font for a specific purpose, and we need to decide which one is right for our project. Graphic designers are experts in choosing fonts, but in this article I'll explore typefaces for everyone who isn't a professional designer.
  • Broader role essential for OpenStack Foundation, says Mirantis’ Renski
  • URSA Announces Name Change to Open Source Integrators to Reflect Their Full Spectrum of Open ERP Expertise
  • 2018 is Year for Open Source Software for Pentagon
    The US Pentagon is set to make a major investment in open source software, if section 886 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 is passed. The section acknowledges the use of open source software, the release of source code into public repositories, and a competition to inspire work with open source that supports the mission of the Department of Defense.
  • How startups save buckets of money on early software development
     

    Moving along, we have to segue with a short modularity lesson. More specifically, how modularity applies to software.

    Essentially, all products and services become cheaper and more plentiful when all the processes involved in production become modularised.

today's howtos